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Old 12-04-2017, 13:35   #1
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Amani Jnana's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Lake Seneca, New York
Boat: Island Packet 29
Posts: 26
Newcomer to Phuket (and Langkawi)

Hi there fellow sailors in the S.E. Asia region!

Crystal Blue, my new (to me) Island Packet 29 will be delivered to Port Klang in Malaysia on or about June 29th. My intention is to sail her to Thailand via Langkawi & Penang and then live aboard her while pursuing a "career" as a part-time English teacher in Phuket. While I have been to Thailand many times (aprox 50), this will be my first time sailing into Thai waters on my own boat. So I can use a lot of advice from you guys already over there.

I'm looking at anchoring/mooring in either Au Chalong Bay, or near Yacht Haven, so I'd love to hear about the pros/cons of each/either.

More importantly for the moment however, I'm trying to determine if getting a VHF license is necessary for the boat and/or for me as an operator in Thailand. Any tips on how to go about that would also be greatly appreciated. Likewise, I know I need to get an AIS transponder, but I could use any tips about how to get it registered, get a MMSI number, etc.

I grew up in Southern Florida, and have made over 100 trips to the bahamas by boat (my dad used to run dive trips to Bimini), but we never registered our VHF for use in the Bahamas. And besides, the Bahamas only just barely counts as sailing in foreign waters, especially if you're from Palm Beach. We didn't have AIS back then either. I won't give away my exact age to the youngsters on the forum by telling them the "technology" we used back then, but the old timers on the forum may recognize this as an important way to get to Bimini "--..-...-...". I really hate being old !!!!

Anyway, I'm really excited (and quite nervous) about this new adventure, so I'd love to make as many new (sailor) friends as possible BEFORE I ship off to Thailand.

BTW- Two companies are working together to ship my boat to Malaysia; Peter's & May, and Seven Seas. Seven Seas is handling the pick up in Lake Seneca, New York, and Peters and May will handle getting it to Asia and unloaded at Port Klang. I've already arranged to have the mast re-stepped at the Royal Selangor Yacht Club at Port Klang. I did seriously consider sailing the boat to Thailand from New York, but after planning the entire route and calculating all the costs, I determined shipping the boat was the best option for me.

I'm just starting the process of fitting out the boat for long-term liveaboard use in Thailand, so any tips on what to buy here vs. buy there will be greatly appreciated as well. The boat has been used in fresh water its entire life, so it is not well equipped for cruising. I just bought 300 watts worth of Solar panels & I know I need to instal an AIS. Besides Wind, Depth & Speed instruments, a GPS, and a VHF radio, the boat doesn't have much else onboard. I'm hoping to live a relatively minimalist cruising-lifestyle, so I'm not looking to load her up with every convenience known to man. I'm fine with pulling my anchor up by hand, but she doesn't even have a serious anchor rode yet. I think it she has 6' of chain and 100' of nylon rode.

In fact, the hull has never encountered a single barnacle since it was manufactured in 1992. So yeah, I've gotta put new bottom paint for heavy growth on her as well. Now her bottom is covered in VC-17, a soft ablative that will offer little help in the warm waters of Thailand. I plan on putting a few coats of Petite Hydrocoat on her, as this is the only thing I could find that will go over the VC-17. If that doesn't work well, I'll explore other options once I get to Asia.

Sailing Crystal Blue

P.S. I am American born and raised, but I spent the last 30 years living and working in China, Vietnam & Thailand. I'm over 50, my favorite color is blue, and I love beach volleyball. I don't hate stink potters, & I even enjoy a spin on a jetski (gasp) from time to time. So I suppose I may not even be considered as a "real" sailor in some circles, especially since my boat is considered a "pig" by many real sailors. Ah well, it is what is!

P.S.S. If anyone is looking for a ride from Port Klang to Phuket on a chubby little sailboat in the beginning of July, I've got room for two or three crew/passengers.
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Old 12-04-2017, 16:27   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Australia
Boat: Catalina 470
Posts: 4,578
Re: Newcomer to Phuket (and Langkawi)

Its easy to anchor at ao chalong, plenty of room but it definitely can blow up there, your biggest danger is other boats dragging. Brent at the yacht club can rent you one of his mooring which seem to be secure.
You don't need a vhf license.
The biggest issue with sailing up to there is a lack of wind and many local fishing boats and nets, generally the nets are deeper than your keel, I don't believe this will be an issue with an island packet.
Take your time and just day hop, holding isnt great of Penang. I would install a rope cutter on your prop shaft, rope and old nets can be a problem in those waters.
You'll need a ais transmitter or they won't clear you in at phuket.

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Old 12-04-2017, 18:13   #3
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Location: Bellingham
Boat: Outbound 44
Posts: 9,319
Re: Newcomer to Phuket (and Langkawi)

You might want to check out the Facebook group Sail SE Asia ( yes, I know it is the pain in the a** Facebook).

FYI this forum is not a great format for long posts. Most people just pass over the long ones.?
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Old 22-01-2018, 21:29   #4
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Re: Newcomer to Phuket (and Langkawi)


Any update? I would be interested in the information too.
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Old 27-01-2018, 19:35   #5
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Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Coffs Harbour, Canada & on the Ocean
Boat: Amel Maramu 46
Posts: 34
Re: Newcomer to Phuket (and Langkawi)

Hello AJ,
I wish you well on your journey and would like to add the following for your consideration as we are currently in transit from Pangkor (Lumut) to Phuket on an Amel Maramu (Pegasus X). You do not mention if you intend to make it a non-stop passage? Due to the large number of drift nets in this region we have elected to break our journey into daylight sectors. Nets appear to be mostly in water less than 20 metres whereas trawler netting is more common in deeper water. Most of the nets have same coloured flags at each end and can range from 50-150 metres in length. They are often placed across main shipping channels. Having a 2+metre draught we have always elected to avoid passing over them in the event of a snag. On occasions it can involve many course changes. North of Penang you will find 'fish aggregation devices' (floating bamboo structures) that are not lit at night.
if I can help with other details please PM me.
Safe and happy sailing ... Dennis
The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has limits "
-Albert Einstein-
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Old 27-01-2018, 20:05   #6
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Boat: Catalina 470
Posts: 4,578
Re: Newcomer to Phuket (and Langkawi)

Most of the nets are below 2m. I've accidentally ran over a few up there , never snagged.
I would often head out to the edge of the shipping channel while heading up the straight, it was easier.
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